Man suspected of robbing banks in Darth Vader, Black Panther masks arrested

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GOLDEN, Colo. — A man suspected of committing five bank robberies in one month across the Denver metro area while wearing character masks has been arrested and charged, the First Judicial District Attorney’s Office said Thursday.

The robber was known as the “Comic-con Bandit” because he wore a Darth Vader mask in two robberies and a Black Panther mask in another.

The same man was suspected in robberies in Louisville, Littleton and Westminster that occurred between Dec. 9 and Jan. 6.

Gary Crider, 49, has been charged with 12 felony counts, including two counts of aggravated robbery, nine counts of robbery and one count of theft.

He was arrested Jan. 6 at the Spring Hill Suites in Westminster after investigators received an anonymous tip.

Inside the hotel room, officers said they found shoes that matched footprints found in the snow outside one of the banks that had been robbed, along with a can of pepper spray that matched the description provided by a teller at one of the banks.

RELATED: Gary Crider arrest affidavit

According to an arrest affidavit, more than $26,000 was taken from the bank robberies in Jefferson and Boulder counties.

The FBI released photos of the so-called “Comic-con Bandit” wearing a Marvel Black Panther mask while robbing a Bank of the West branch at 865 E. South Boulder Road in Louisville on Dec. 9.

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Crider is also suspected of robbing the UMB Bank branch at 8046 W. Bowles Ave. in Littleton on Dec. 19 while wearing a Darth Vader mask. He claimed he had a gun while demanding money.

On Dec. 23, Crider is alleged to have worn a Darth Vader mask and robbed the Bank of the West branch at 6775 W. Ken Caryl Ave.

On Dec. 29, Crider is accused of robbing a U.S. Bank branch at 801 W. 120th St. in Adams County. He then allegedly tried to rob the Bank of the West branch in Louisville again on Jan. 6.

According to the affidavit, Crider also admitted driving a white Saturn Vue to each of the robberies. The vehicle had been spotted in surveillance video outside several of the banks.

The Saturn belonged to his father, who had reported it stolen in December.

At the time of the robberies, Crider was on federal probation for bank robbery and state parole for attempted murder, the affidavit said. Crider was supposed to be staying at a halfway house in Denver but had absconded.

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI Safe Street’s Task Force, the Louisville Police Department, the Westminster Police Department and SWAT team, and the Department of Corrections Fugitive Unit worked to identify, locate and arrest Crider.

Crider is being held at the Jefferson County Jail on $250,000 bond. He has until Thursday to schedule a preliminary hearing.